Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two essays

Hanson's is pleasure. Goldstein's is rewarding, yet disturbing. When Goldstein says "classical liberalism", he means what we today commonly call conservatism.

Victor Hanson: What Really is Wisdom?
I have seen no difference in intelligence levels between those who inhabit the world of the physical and those who cultivate the life of the mind. That is, the most brilliant Greek philologists seemed no more impressive in their aptitude than the fellow who could take apart the transmission of an old Italian Oliver tractor, fix it, and put it back together–without a manual.

Jeff Goldstein: Alinsky Oil
Alinsky, Gramsci, and others saw that this type of march through the institutions — a slow intellectual undercutting of classical liberalism through the very institutions built to safeguard it — was the best way to turn the founding principles of individualism, equality of opportunity, and self-sufficiency (protected by a Constitution, the rule of law, and federalist principles) into voter bloc politics, equality of outcome, and reliance on the increasingly centralized Federal nannystate.

In short, it was the way to set the stage for socialism.

And what Nordlinger is bemoaning here — and what I myself have long bemoaned — is that the march through these institutions by progressivism, given cover by the media, has set the stage for the election of a President who has managed successfully to frame his leftism in the easy, empty bromides of populism and promise, and to do so with very little in the way of vetting of his background....
In Obama’s case, it is the political and philosophical desire to have the US join the world community as an equal — and to do so, given our current position as a hyperpower, means, necessarily, that we as a country need to be taken down a few notches, to abase ourselves (as Carter would’ve had us do), or to surrender military and strategic advantages, while keeping us dependent on foreign energy and entangled in transnationalist endeavors, so that the rest of the world doesn’t look upon us as a “bully,” but as an “equal.”

Equality of outcome over equality of opportunity. This is the essence of socialist thinking. And we have been softened up enough that we may just yet be ready to adopt such a paradigm of governance.

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